Mon 30 Nov 2009
PATRICIA MOYES – Who Is Simon Warwick? Holt Rinehart & Winston, US, hardcover, 1979. Paperback reprint: Owl Books, 1982. UK edition: Collins Crime Club, hc, 1978.
Moyes brings the classic “missing heir” theme up to date in this suspenseful mystery. In a fit of remorse toward the end of his life, Lord Charlton makes his American-adopted nephew his sole heir. On Lord Charlton’s death, his “modestly-situated solicitor” Ambrose Quince has the responsibility of finding the nephew, if possible.
Two claimants turn up, both with papers to prove their identity. Then one is murdered, and the other is the obvious suspect. But, to Inspector Henry Tibbett, nothing is that obvious. There are others who would benefit if the missing heir stayed missing, and the remaining claimant might well be eliminated in one way or another.
Curious questions arise: how did each claimant come by the papers each had? Why does the remaining one so strenuously insist that his wife not come to England to be with him in his trial for murder? Why was Lord Charlton so sure that he would have recognized his missing nephew?
Though readers may have their suspicions about the murderer, the suspense does not let up until a spine-tingling trap closes in the final pages.
Editorial Comment: Maryell’s review of Death on the Agenda, also by Moyes, appeared here earlier on this blog.